By Mordechai Schmutter
I hate trying on clothes. If there were any other way to get new clothes, I would do it in a second.
I especially hate trying on clothes that turn out not to fit, because I don’t like putting on clothes that are too small. In fact, that’s the reason I’m buying new clothes in the first place. And what do you do when you’re buying clothes? You get into a tiny little closet that has a seat and a small hook and a door that doesn’t go down to the floor and you put on several pairs of pants that don’t fit until you find one that does.
And I can’t just walk into the dressing room with one suit. First, I find every suit in the entire store that could possibly fit me. Then I come into the dressing room with all of them, and I have to try to get them onto that one little hook. Which clothes are supposed to go on it? The ones I came in with, or the ones I’m trying on? Why don’t I just change in an airplane bathroom, while I’m at it? Then I have to keep track of which suits I’ve tried on and which suits I haven’t, and pants are falling out of hangers, and the store is hot, and there’s no room to sit down. I’m never even sure I get out of there with two parts of the same suit.
I have to buy a suit now, because my wife’s sister is getting married (yes, still), and apparently, it’s necessary that I be in pictures. But a big reason I’ve kept pushing off buying this suit, aside from hating buying suits, is that I wanted to lose weight before this wedding. I don’t want to buy a suit that comfortably accommodates my current waist size, because then I won’t want to lose weight.
“Lose weight? No way! I just bought a suit!”
Sure, I know they say that when you’re buying clothes, you should buy something slightly skinnier than your size, so that every time you put it on, you’ll go, “Whoa! I need to lose weight!” But like I said, I don’t like wearing things that don’t fit.
And anyway, my current suit still seems to fit. The only thing reminding me to lose weight is the once a week that I put on the suit, and I say, “Wow, this is really wearing thin! I can see my reflection! I need to buy a suit soon, right after I lose weight!” But unfortunately, that once a week is Shabbos, and that’s the last day I’m going to lose weight. Then, after Shabbos, I change back into my weekday pants, and I forget about suits until the next Shabbos.
This is also why I still have that one kiddush stain from months ago.
The issue, though, is that I used to buy suits at Syms, and they went out of business at a time that I didn’t need a new suit, because apparently, my buying one or two suits every time a sibling gets married wasn’t covering their overhead. So I need a new store.
So I looked around, and the first store that I thought of was the one where I normally buy my weekday pants. I don’t want to say the name of the store, but I will say that they keep their bigger sizes on lower shelves, for some reason. The size 33 pants are at eye level, and the bigger you are, the farther you have to bend down. How are we getting back up? Are the shelves reinforced?
They know how big these people are. The number is right on the clothes!
But anyway, I figured that if the store had shirts and pants, they must have suits, right? Not really. They have something called “suit separates,” which is basically a scavenger hunt. First you try on every jacket in the store until you find one that you like, and then you find the matching pants in your size. But usually there are none, so you have to try on more jackets. I guess that’s better than starting with the pants.
This terrifies me, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to come home with a black jacket and blue pants. Though I just noticed that it says on the tag what color it is.
“What do you want from me? It said BL! Whatever. I’m going to be standing behind the kids in all the pictures anyway.”
I like buying complete suits, where you just have to find the jacket, and it comes with free pants.
So I went out after Yom Kippur, and I tried a different store that actually had complete suits. I tried some on, bought one, and brought it home to try on for my wife. Your wife is really the only person who has to care what you look like. Your goal, when you’re out in public, is not to embarrass her.
Then yom tov happened.
So I tried it on for her first thing after Sukkos. Boy, was that a bad move. I don’t know if it fit properly when I bought it, but it definitely did not fit after yom tov. This is why if you buy a suit before yom tov, you’re supposed to wear it on yom tov, so at least it will grow along with you.
“It doesn’t fit right,” my wife said.
“It’s not supposed to fit right,” I said. “It’s an incentive to lose weight.”
So now I had to go back out to find another suit, even though my opinion is that once I come home with a suit, that’s my suit. But my compromise was that at least my wife would come with me, seeing as she’s the only one who cares how it looks.
The first thing my wife did, when we got to the store, was ask an employee what size I am. It never occurred to me to do that. I don’t have great experiences with those people. The guy always starts by saying, “You tell me!” And you say whatever size you were three years ago, because that was the last time you bought a suit. And he says, “I don’t think so!”
You’re not in denial. You figure, “I bought a suit back then, and I still wear that suit, so that’s my size. I didn’t realize I actually stretched out the waist so that the number on the pants is no longer accurate. No one came in and crossed out that number for me.”
The annoying thing about buying clothes is that it’s not like shoes, where you memorize your number, and that’s it. Suits are always different. Even in the same size, there are different “fits.” And they all have politically correct terms so they don’t offend anyone, so I have no idea what any of them mean. There’s Classic Fit, and Modern Fit, and Athletic Fit. No store is like, “Let me take you to the obese section.” That’s what my doctor calls it. I’m a little offended, but at least I know what it means. And knowing what it means gets me in and out of the store quicker.
No. They say, “You might be happier in portly.” What does that mean?
So I’m back in the dressing room, trying on a suit while holding five others, and I have to keep coming out to show them to my wife. The annoying thing is you can’t just leave your weekday pants in the dressing room. It’s not like you get a private key. I keep all my valuables in my pants, so I’m walking in and out of the dressing room, showing her suits, with a pair of weekday pants over my shoulder.
“Here, hold these. I’m going back into the dressing room.”
In the end, we went to multiple stores, and I bought suit separates, which my wife assures me are the same color. I’ve made my peace with it.
I figure the nice thing is that buying suit separates allows me to come back if I do lose weight, and buy another pair of pants to match the jacket. Unless it takes so long for me to lose weight that they discontinue the suit. v
Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of four books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to MSchmutter@gmail.com.